DAY 6: Suzy and the Wasp by Andrew Boulton

No comments

On the 6th Day of Christmas Andrew Boulton gave to me…

When summer came and the skies bulged with a sticky mist, one wasp made an error of judgement. Sugar-drunk and oblivious to consequences, this wasp found himself trapped inside a freezer. And slept.

Now it’s Christmas morning and the freezer is, for the first time, open long enough for an unsteady revival.

Opening that freezer is Suzy, thin in figure but bloated with loneliness. She is searching for food, any food so long as it could not be mistaken for a Christmas dinner. She chooses a pre-packaged jacket potato that demands a spell in the microwave which will bring it to the almost brink of edibility.

The wasp, chilled and dozy, and mightily surprised at the sensation of its own breath, staggers out and plops onto the floor like a lost tooth.

Suzy, attuned to sound in the way all isolated people become, notices the wasp and, forgetting the rules about the creatures we are, and are not, allowed to offer sympathy to, picks it up with the dessert spoon she keeps handy for scooping lemon curd directly from jar to mouth.

Her first instinct is to message Greg, despite how long it’s been since she has.

But this is the kind of thing they’d always tell each other about. The small, unusual occurrences that thrilled them both. A habit they look for, but are yet to find, in anyone new.

Without thinking, or at least without overthinking, she sends a message. There was a wasp in my freezer. He’s alive. Do wasps hibernate? I don’t want to know what he’s been doing to the ice poles.

She regrets the message as soon as she sends it. Actually, the regret begins a second before she presses send, the sort of regret you feel stepping into the road just in time to detect the ding and wobble of a bicycle that can’t stop.

Before, when they were together, these sorts of messages would happen two, three, twelve times a day.

Suzy: I’ve just seen a sparrow eating a Kit-Kat finger.

Greg: Someone’s left a single lobster claw on a bus seat and now people are standing up rather than move it.

Suzy: Two ducks are fighting over a spanner. I love you.

But then they rowed and Greg left and tried to come back and Suzy sulked and told him to stay away, and those messages stopped. A few weeks ago. A month or so. 88 days. Whatever.

She is deciding whether to Google ways to unsend a message or simply slide her phone into the microwave, a crackling companion to the horrendous potato. And then she notices the wasp, who appears to be shaking his tiny black head.

There is a moment of odd magic. Then her phone buzzes. Greg. Urging her to check for hedgehogs in the dishwasher. Perhaps a small bear in the downstairs loo.

Suzy settles into a chair, already typing. Smiling, as if she never stopped, while her Christmas wasp helps himself to some potato.

Andrew Boulton

Andrew Boulton is a lecturer in creative advertising. His stories have been published in journals including Lunate, Retreat West, Storgy, Flash Fiction Magazine, Tiny Molecules and the Bath Flash Fiction Award. He lives in Nottingham with his wife, daughter and a chubby cat.

We are still accepting submissions for the STORGY Festive Flash Advent Calendar so please visit our Submittable page here for more details.

You can read all the FESTIVE FLASH stories from the STORGY Advent Calendar here

The Annihilation Radiation Short Story Competition is now open for entries.

1st Prize – £500

2nd Prize – £100

3rd Prize – £50

Closing date – 31st January 2020

Finalists will be published in ANNIHILATION RADIATION

£10 Entry Fee

For more details click here!

To celebrate the release of

HOPEFUL MONSTERS

We are offering a whopping 60% off previously published STORGY titles:

EXIT EARTH & SHALLOW CREEK!

That’s 21 stories for £4.99*
or 42 stories for £9.98*

*(R.R.P. £12.99 each. Postal charges apply)

Simply click on the images below and take advantage of this limited time offer.

Discount code will be applied at checkout prior to purchase.
If not automatically applied add discount code HOPEFULMONSTERS

Unlike many other Arts & Entertainment Magazines, STORGY is not Arts Council funded or subsidised by external grants or contributions. The content we provide takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce, and relies on the talented authors we publish and the dedication of a devoted team of staff writers. If you enjoy reading our Magazine, help to secure our future and enable us to continue publishing the words of our writers. Please make a donation or subscribe to STORGY Magazine with a monthly fee of your choice. Your support, as always, continues to inspire.

PayPal-Donate-Button

Sign up to our mailing list and never miss a new short story.

  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Leave a Reply